After two years' training, limbless man Philippe Croizon is ready to swim the Channel
Friday 10 September 2010
Philippe Croizon lost his limbs in an accident 16 years ago. In 2008, he could not even swim two lengths of a swimming pool. Next week, Mr Croizon will attempt to become the first limbless person to swim the 21 miles between England and France.
Mr Croizon, 42, from Saint-Rémy-sur-Creuse in west France, lost his arms and legs after receiving an electric shock at home. While in hospital, he was inspired by a documentary about an English woman who had swum the Channel earlier that year.
"Two solutions were offered to me [after the accident]: to die or decide to live," Mr Croizon told The Independent. "I chose to rebuild myself. I watched that documentary and thought 'why not me'?"
After two years of training up to 35 hours per week, Mr Croizon is now ready to take on the challenge. To aid the swim, he will use specially made prosthetic legs with flippers attached and a snorkel. What remains of his upper arms will stabilise him.
Most Channel swimmers take up to 10 hours to complete the feat at a speed of approximately 2.5 miles per hour. Mr Croizon is expecting to do it in 20 to 24 hours, at a speed of 1.8 miles per hour, taking regular breaks of one minute to eat and drink.
Training has been arduous for the amputee, who never took an interest in swimming before the accident. When he first embarked on the project, it seemed a hopeless idea.
"When I first met him in September 2008, he couldn't even do two lengths," said his coach, Valérie Carbonel. "He had no endurance; his prosthetics didn't propel him at all." Two years later, Mr Croizon completed a test-swim between the island of Noirmoutier and Pornic in the Loire estuary in five hours, one hour quicker than expected.
The self-confessed "sofa sportsman" has lost over one and a half stone due to the intense fitness schedule of weight training, cardio exercise and swimming.
Family have been very important during the training. "I have a big family and they are all very happy for me. After two years of only eating, sleeping and swimming, they have been affected by the process too," he said. "When I'm swimming I think of my children. They give me a lot of inspiration; help me to keep strong mentally."
Mr Croizon has received letters of support from President Sarkozy and other prominent politicians. "This is a dream day for me. I am doing this, above all, for myself, but also to set an example. I want to show people who suffer that this is doable, that you always have to fight," Mr Croizon said.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...